Germany Must Set Timetable for Lignite Exit: Lobby Group
Power plant operators in Germany are to receive incentives for switching from coal to natural gas, according to press reports, the gas lobby group Zukunft Erdgas (Future Gas) said January 24. This is according to media reports from the draft of the final report of the coal commission, which was set up to work out the best way of making power generation in Germany cleaner. Large amounts of subsidies for intermittent renewables have driven generators to use the cheapest dispatchable fuel, which has been lignite, which emits about three times more CO2/kWh of output than gas.
ZE said that it was encouraging that the coal commission was able to achieve results that were satisfactory for all stakeholder groups involved. Now it is time to set out these measures in a concrete exit path and a date for closing the last such plant, otherwise it remains with vague promises without effective climate protection, it said.
It said it was particularly pleasing that the coal commission has recognised the importance of natural gas for the further implementation of the energy transition.
Germany has 9 GW of lignite and 30 GW of gas fired capacity, but most of the latter is idle: only about one third was used in 2018 and many operators are considering decommissioning them. At the same time, the role of gas-fired capacity is growing alongside renewable energies. The coal commission sees gas-fired power plants as the first choice, the group said.
The decisive factor now is to protect the existing gas-fired power plants from imminent closure. In order to keep the CO2 savings achieved stable even after the nuclear phase-out, a rapid expansion of the gas-fired power station fleet is also urgently needed, said ZE: a quick exit from lignite is the only way to save the remaining CO2 budget.